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Beyond Displacement

Campesinos, Refugees, and Collective Action in the Salvadoran Civil War

Molly Todd

During the civil war that wracked El Salvador from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the Salvadoran military tried to stamp out dissidence and insurgency through an aggressive campaign of crop-burning, kidnapping, rape, killing, torture, and gruesome bodily mutilations. Even as human rights violations drew world attention, repression and war displaced more than a quarter of El Salvador’s population, both inside the country and beyond its borders. Beyond Displacement examines how the peasant campesinos of war-torn northern El Salvador responded to violence by taking to the hills. Molly Todd demonstrates that their flight was not hasty and chaotic, but was a deliberate strategy that grew out of a longer history of collective organization, mobilization, and self-defense.

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Beyond Gated Politics

Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy

Romand Coles

In the early years of the new millennium, the practice of democracy in America and around the world faces tremendous dangers: the proliferation of transnational corporations, the spread of oppressive fundamentalism, and environmental collapse. Within the United States, opposition to increasingly antidemocratic political and economic policies has been either nonexistent or unsuccessful. This trend includes, but far exceeds, the Bush administration’s policies from the Patriot Act and the war on Iraq to the “Clear Channelization” of the media and the private development of public lands. 

In Beyond Gated Politics, political theorist and grassroots activist Romand Coles argues that the survival of democracy depends on recognizing the failings of disengaged liberal democracy—the exclusions and subjugations that accompany every democratic “we,” for example—and experimenting with more radical modes of democratic theory and action. Among those brought into the conversation are John Howard Yoder, John Rawls, Alisdair MacIntyre, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Audre Lorde. 

Coles, whose work is deeply informed by his own experiences as an activist, pays close attention to the actual practice of democracy with particular interest in emerging social movements. In doing so, he not only moves beyond the paradigms of political liberalism, deliberative democracy, and communitarian republicanism, but also cultivates multidimensional modes of public discourse that reflect and sustain the creative tension at the heart of democratic life and responsibility. 

Romand Coles is professor of political theory at Duke University. His previous books include Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas and Self/Power/Other: Political Theory and Dialogical Ethics.

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Binational Human Rights

The U.S.-Mexico Experience

Edited by William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller

Mexico ranks highly on many of the measures that have proven significant for creating a positive human rights record, including democratization, good health and life expectancy, and engagement in the global economy. Yet the nation's most vulnerable populations suffer human rights abuses on a large scale, such as gruesome killings in the Mexican drug war, decades of violent feminicide, migrant deaths in the U.S. desert, and the ongoing effects of the failed detention and deportation system in the States. Some atrocities have received extensive and sensational coverage, while others have become routine or simply ignored by national and international media. Binational Human Rights examines both well-known and understudied instances of human rights crises in Mexico, arguing that these abuses must be understood not just within the context of Mexican policies but in relation to the actions or inactions of other nations—particularly the United States.

The United States and Mexico share the longest border in the world between a developed and a developing nation; the relationship between the two nations is complex, varied, and constantly changing, but the policies of each directly affect the human rights situation across the border. Binational Human Rights brings together explain the mechanisms by which a perfect storm of structural and policy factors on both sides has led to such widespread human rights abuses.

Contributors: Alejandro Anaya Muñoz, Luis Alfredo Arriola Vega, Timothy J. Dunn, Miguel Escobar-Valdez, Clara Jusidman, Maureen Meyer, Carol Mueller, Julie A. Murphy Erfani, William Paul Simmons, Kathleen Staudt, Michelle Téllez.

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Black Mosaic

The Politics of Black Pan-Ethnic Diversity

Candis Watts Smith

Historically, Black Americans have easily found common ground on political, social, and economic goals. Yet, there are signs of increasing variety of opinion among Blacks in the United States, due in large part to the influx of Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean, and African immigrants to the United States. In fact, the very definition of “African American” as well as who can self-identity as Black is becoming more ambiguous. Should we expect African Americans’ shared sense of group identity and high sense of group consciousness to endure as ethnic diversity among the population increases? In Black Mosaic, Candis Watts Smith addresses the effects of this dynamic demographic change on Black identity and Black politics.

Smith explores the numerous ways in which the expanding and rapidly changing demographics of Black communities in the United States call into question the very foundations of political identity that has united African Americans for generations. African Americans’ political attitudes and behaviors have evolved due to their historical experiences with American Politics and American racism. Will Black newcomers recognize the inconsistencies between the American creed and American reality in the same way as those who have been in the U.S. for several generations? If so, how might this recognition influence Black immigrants’ political attitudes and behaviors? Will race be a site of coalition between Black immigrants and African Americans? In addition to face-to-face interviews with African Americans and Black immigrants, Smith employs nationally representative survey data to examine these shifts in the attitudes of Black Americans. Filling a significant gap in the political science literature to date, Black Mosaic is a groundbreaking study about the state of race, identity, and politics in an ever-changing America.

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Black Revolutionary

William Patterson and the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle

Gerald Horne

A leading African American Communist, lawyer William L. Patterson (1891–1980) was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the defeat of Jim Crow by virtue of his leadership of the Scottsboro campaign in the 1930s. In this watershed biography, historian Gerald Horne shows how Patterson helped to advance African American equality by fostering and leveraging international support for the movement. Horne highlights key moments in Patterson's global activism: his early education in the Soviet Union, his involvement with the Scottsboro trials and other high-profile civil rights cases of the 1930s to 1950s, his 1951 We Charge Genocide petition to the United Nations, and his later work with prisons and the Black Panther Party. Through Patterson's story, Horne examines how the Cold War affected the freedom movement, with civil rights leadership sometimes disavowing African American leftists in exchange for concessions from the U.S. government. He also probes the complex and often contradictory relationship between the Communist Party and the African American community, including the impact of the FBI's infiltration of the Communist Party. Drawing from government and FBI documents, newspapers, periodicals, archival and manuscript collections, and personal papers, Horne documents Patterson's effectiveness at carrying the freedom struggle into the global arena and provides a fresh perspective on twentieth-century struggles for racial justice.

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Blacks and the Quest for Economic Equality

The Political Economy of Employment in Southern Communities in the United States

James W. Button, Barbara A. Rienzo, Sheila L. Croucher

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Blocking Public Participation

The Use of Strategic Litigation to Silence Political Expression

Strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP) involves lawsuits brought by individuals, corporations, groups, or politicians to curtail political activism and expression. An increasingly large part of the political landscape in Canada, they are often launched against those protesting, boycotting, or participating in some form of political activism. A common feature of SLAPPs is that their intention is rarely to win the case or secure a remedy; rather, the suit is brought to create a chill on political expression.

Blocking Public Participation examines the different types of litigation and causes of action that frequently form the basis of SLAPPs, and how these lawsuits transform political disputes into legal cases, thereby blocking political engagement. The resource imbalance between plaintiffs and defendants allows plaintiffs to tie up defendants in complex and costly legal processes. The book also examines the dangers SLAPPs pose to political expression and to the quality and integrity of our democratic political institutions. Finally, the book examines the need to regulate SLAPPs in Canada and assesses various regulatory proposals.

In Canada, considerable attention has been paid to the “legalization of politics” and the impact on the Charter in diverting political activism into the judicial arena. SLAPPs, however, are an under-studied element of this process, and in their obstruction of political engagement through recourse to the courts they have profound implications for democratic practice.

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Borderlands

Comparing Border Security in North America and Europe

Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly

Border security has been high on public-policy agendas in Europe and North America since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York City and on the headquarters of the American military in Washington DC. Governments are now confronted with managing secure borders, a policy objective that in this era of increased free trade and globalization must compete with intense cross-border flows of people and goods. Border-security policies must enable security personnel to identify, or filter out, dangerous individuals and substances from among the millions of travelers and tons of goods that cross borders daily, particularly in large cross-border urban regions. This book addresses this gap between security needs and an understanding of borders and borderlands. Specifically, the chapters in this volume ask policy-makers to recognize that two fundamental elements define borders and borderlands: first, human activities (the agency and agent power of individual ties and forces spanning a border), and second, the broader social processes that frame individual action, such as market forces, government activities (law, regulations, and policies), and the regional culture and politics of a borderland. Borders emerge as the historically and geographically variable expression of human ties exercised within social structures of varying force and influence, and it is the interplay and interdependence between people's incentives to act and the surrounding structures (i.e. constructed social processes that contain and constrain individual action) that determine the effectiveness of border security policies. This book argues that the nature of borders is to be porous, which is a problem for security policy makers. It shows that when for economic, cultural, or political reasons human activities increase across a border and borderland, governments need to increase cooperation and collaboration with regard to security policies, if only to avoid implementing mismatched security policies.

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Boston Against Busing

Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s

Ronald P. Formisano

Perhaps the most spectacular reaction to court-ordered busing in the 1970s occurred in Boston, where there was intense and protracted protest. Ron Formisano explores the sources of white opposition to school desegregation. Racism was a key factor, Formisano argues, but racial prejudice alone cannot explain the movement. Class resentment, ethnic rivalries, and the defense of neighborhood turf all played powerful roles in the protest.

In a new epilogue, Formisano brings the story up to the present day, describing the end of desegregation orders in Boston and other cities. He also examines the nationwide trend toward the resegregation of schools, which he explains is the result of Supreme Court decisions, attacks on affirmative action, white flight, and other factors. He closes with a brief look at the few school districts that have attempted to base school assignment policies on class or economic status.

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